Concentration and Memory Problems
Throughout perimenopause and after menopause, women frequently complain of poor short-term memory and a loss of concentration. You may find that you are forgetting things more frequently or losing focus on the tasks you have at hand. The challenging nature of perimenopause itself, including stress over unusually heavy bleeding, frequent and intolerable hot flashes, sleeplessness, mood swings or worry over incontinence, can all contribute to muddled thinking. Moreover, worry about memory and concentration problems can exacerbate the situation even further.
Age-Related Memory Problems, or Alzheimers?
Some age-related decline in memory function is normal and does not mean that a medical problem like Alzheimer’s disease is looming. Furthermore, if you are experiencing concentration and memory problems, this may not necessarily be a symptom of menopause. It may simply be age related. Either way, you are not alone. Most of us experience some degree of memory loss as we age. While menopause may make the situation worse, experts believe that much of this can be attributed to the stresses of this life transition.
Managing Concentration and Memory Loss
It is best to take a proactive approach in managing this symptom of menopause. There are a number of steps you can take to keep your mind fit. Just as physical exercise keeps your body healthy, mental activity keeps your mind sharp and agile. If you take on new and exciting mental problems, your brain will continue steadily to grow. Research has shown that our brains never lose the capacity to learn and that learning new things literally causes our brains to grow. No matter your age, a dynamic mind produces new dendrites. These are the connections between nerve cells that allow the cells to communicate with one another. This helps the brain store and retrieve data from your memory more easily. It sounds like a cliché but playing a variety of mental games such as scrabble, bridge, chess, crossword puzzles or Sudoku puzzles will indeed sharpen your mind.
[sws_blue_box box_size="610"] Learn a brand new musical instrument, sport, or language. Take computer classes or learn to use new software programs. Read more books and remain informed of the latest news. Keep an energetic social life with family and friends or expand your social network by volunteering in a non-profit organization. Your overall goal should be to always challenge your mind in new ways. [/sws_blue_box]
Fact: Recent research has found a strong link between a healthy body and a healthy mind. Physical activity, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding smoking and managing cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels can also help keep cognitive function strong and defend against concentration and memory loss.
Coping with Concentration and Memory Problems
There are a number of basic strategies that you can use to make your life a little easier if you are experiencing memory problems or difficulty concentrating. Implement the following strategies to take control of your daily life;
- Write things down in a calendar and refer to it throughout your day
- Keep a journal
- Make lists of things you need to do
- Use a shopping list when running errands
- Establish daily routines
- Create one place where you will always keep all easy to lose items such as keys, glasses, wallets, phone etc.
- When cooking or baking use a timer that clips onto your clothes
- Eat well-balanced and nutritious meals
- Participate in regular physical exercise
Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Help?
Concentration and memory problems can be brought on by age or the stresses of perimenopause and menopause and may not be caused by changing hormone levels. Whether or not hormone therapy helps with memory and concentration problems
is controversial and may possibly rely on when treatment is started. For more information on this topic, see our article on hormone replacement.